Author Topic: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED  (Read 3367 times)

Offline Badlad

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High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« on: March 23, 2020, 10:40:44 am »
Dear all

The farmer at High Birkwith farm has asked that no one visit the caves of Birkwith, Calf Holes, Browgill, etc. during the Corona Virus outbreak.  I doubt many of you are thinking of caving at this time anyway.  Please abide by his wishes as we do not want to jeopardise future access.  We are expecting normal access to these caves to be resumed once the crisis is over.

Please spread this message around your caving contacts.

Good luck everyone
Tim Allen
CNCC Access Officer

Offline HardenClimber3

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2020, 10:14:44 am »
Is there any update on this?
(beyond the slightly more recent 'they are still closed')

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2020, 06:03:20 pm »
Thanks for the prompt HC3

Sad to say that access has not improved at High Birkwith to date, with the landowner still requesting that no one goes caving there.  This is not just related to corona virus issues and, as I have said before, the new owners are not as keen on access in general, unlike their predecessors. 

These are important beginner caves with a long history of permitted access.  CNCC colleagues and myself are working to see what can be done.  There are many public rights of way across this land including the Three Peaks route and we understand that some cavers will continue to visit these caves.  I suggest that if cavers are requested to leave the caves for any reason then they do so as quickly as reasonable and to be as courteous as possible to those making that request.

If anything changes I will try to keep you all informed.
Best regards
Tim Allen
CNCC Access Officer

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2020, 09:01:25 pm »
More of a shame as it's an area of caving you can get to from the railway.  Trust in CNCC.

Offline Ed

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2020, 10:15:34 pm »
Given the length of time they caves have been access /used its likely a Right of Prescription exists.

Same as an unofficial path across a field that is used unchallenged for think its 21 years it becomes enshrined as a path.

Online mikem

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 08:49:03 am »
Doesn't apply if the landowner gave permission to access it.

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 08:57:53 am »
If anyone has a long memory I would like to know how long cavers have enjoyed easy access to the caves at High Birkwith?  Anyone?

Offline Pitlamp

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2020, 09:16:41 am »
Others will remember well before me but my first visit was in 1971 as a youngster, supervised by Jim Cunningham (of the HWCPC). I do recall we made a token payment, as with visits ever since.

Offline Groundhog

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2020, 09:22:24 am »
I did the caves in1967 but can't remember any details

Online mikem

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2020, 09:41:15 am »
YRC record first visits in 1895 & 96. BGS have photos from 1931. Some early newsletters must have access details for them (although I can't get the online caving library catalogue to find anything at the moment!)

Trips in Belfry Bulletin 1972 (no mention of access, but suggests it wasn't a problem):
https://bec-cave.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=943:belfry-bulletin-no-295-may-1972&catid=68&limitstart=5&lang=en&Itemid=558
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 10:11:25 am by mikem »

Offline Solomonkey

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2020, 06:50:51 pm »
Doesn't apply if the landowner gave permission to access it.
[/quote
Says who ?? :-\

Offline Solomonkey

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2020, 06:53:37 pm »
 during the Corona Virus outbreak.  I doubt many of you are thinking of caving at this time anyway. 

Well I don't get impression reading the forum  :-\

Online mikem

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2020, 07:16:24 pm »
Doesn't apply if the landowner gave permission to access it.
Says who ?? :-\
The law. Access has to have been uncontested.

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2020, 08:35:34 pm »
during the Corona Virus outbreak.  I doubt many of you are thinking of caving at this time anyway. 

Well I don't get impression reading the forum  :-\

Hi solomonkey.  I wrote that on 23rd march when full lockdown first started.  Hardly anyone went caving until lockdown restrictions eased.   Since then a lot of caving has returned to close to normal but it is still problematic for some clubs, visitors and instructed caving.   As soon as full lockdown lifted most access restrictions that were imposed were lifted.  That is except the caves at High Birkwith.  A number of people have worked to try to turn this around but without success and CNCC will discuss options at their meeting next weekend.  It is ongoing at the moment but difficult to see much changing over winter. 
Cheers
Tim

Offline BrightAire

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2020, 08:56:34 pm »
If anyone has a long memory I would like to know how long cavers have enjoyed easy access to the caves at High Birkwith?  Anyone?

Hi Tim

I'm interested in your line of "attack" here. As far as I recall, rights of access through long use require access to have been unimpeded for n years, and requirements to "call at the farm house" or make a token payment are, in part, measures to prevent this from occurring. I think this principle only extends to the creation of surface rights of way too, rather than to allow caving. What's your thinking about how establishing historical visits to the cave might help to secure future access?

Thanks for your work, on our behalf, by the way. It really is appreciated.

Online mikem

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2020, 09:09:09 pm »
It is useful to know history when you're discussing with other people.

Offline Badlad

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Re: High Birkwith caves - CLOSED
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2020, 09:21:31 pm »
The question about how long cavers had enjoyed easy access was not intended as any attempt to secure legal right of way.  It was simply to add context in a report to YDNPA.  I understand that the new landowner stopped access for one day on all the permissive routes not long after he took over.  This apparently is used to make sure no long term rights can be claimed.

My line of attack is to exhaust all friendly, courteous and reasonable options that I can think of.  A few of the caves are not actually on his land but the likely destinations underground are.  Calf Holes entrance for instance is next door and likely on access land but this doesn't help when most folk want to exit via Browgill.

CRoW rights, which I am a huge fan of, will only secure a legal right of access to certain sites - but at least it will do that.  For other caves on private land we must use all our powers of reason to maintain access but this can be extremely testing when land changes ownership.

Cheers for the compliment  :)

 

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